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May 20, 2014
                                        
Re:   Legislative Alert

I. S-1972, Prohibits Municipal Registration of Multi-Family Dwellings
II. S-321, Permits a municipality to establish a civil penalty for smoking in public places
III. S-316, Increases flexibility and available tools for municipal consolidation
IV. No
n-Residential Development Fee

Dear Mayor:

I. S-1972, Prohibits Municipal Registration of Multi-Family Dwellings
The League opposes S-1972, which was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on Monday. This bill will preempt any municipal ordinance requiring registration for multi-family dwellings, defined by statute as 3 or more units.  If you recall, identical legislation advanced during the 2012-2013 legislative session, but the bills did not advance for final floor votes. 

S-1972 is now second referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for its consideration.  The Assembly companion, A-474, is referenced to the Assembly Housing and Community Development committee.   

A 1967 law, the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,” authorized the State to require registration, in addition to local registration, of residential rental properties with three or more units. Currently, a municipality has the option to require registration for these units. 

Such registration is neither redundant nor at cross-purposes with registration conducted by the State.   Municipalities conduct these registrations for a multitude of reasons all centering on the health, safety and welfare of their residents.  For example, this discretion enables some municipalities to keep a timely inventory of multi-family dwellings in the community and minimize the instances of overcrowding.  This option assists municipalities in effectively regulating the quality of housing in the community and should not be preempted by Trenton.

We recommend that you reach out to your legislators and ask them to oppose S-1972 and A-474. Questions and comments can be directed to Mike Cerra at either mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x120.

II. S-321, Permits a municipality to establish a civil penalty for smoking in public places
The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee released S-321, which would permit a municipality to impose a civil penalty, in lieu of a petty disorderly person’s offense, for smoking lighted tobacco products in a public place. The League supports this bill.
Often, violations of the smoking ban are committed by students in public places or on busses, in connection with school-related activities. The resulting presence of a disorderly person’s offense on the student’s record can negatively affect their future employment, advanced education and the award of scholarships and other financial assistance. The local governing body can best decide whether local violators of a local ordinance should be subject to a civil or a disorderly person’s penalty, which can include incarceration.

The bill now advances to consideration by the full Senate. A companion measure, A-3172, awaits consideration by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

III. S-316, Increases flexibility and available tools for municipal consolidation
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee amended and released S-316, a bill designed to facilitate municipal consolidations. We support this bill, which will provide greater flexibility for municipalities considering consolidation options. We want to thank the sponsor, Senator Robert Gordon, for his leadership on this issue, and for his consideration and inclusion, in this bill, of our suggested provisions.

This bill includes a requirement for voter approval of a proposed consolidation. It includes a requirement that State agencies consider local circumstances in making decisions regarding consolidations. Further, the legislation contains a provision that directs the Department of Community Affairs to provide an analysis of the fiscal impact of a consolidation proposal.

Our Legislative Committee strongly believes that the citizens need to have final say on a consolidation proposal and that they need to be given the information they need – including an independent fiscal analysis – in order to make an informed decision.

The bill now advances to consideration by the full Senate. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

IV. Non-Residential Development Fee
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee also advanced S-1011, which would re-establish the moratorium on the imposition of fees on non-residential construction projects until the end of 2015. The previous suspension expired on July 1, 2013 and the fee provision is currently in effect.  Similar legislation, A-1907, was advanced by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and is 2nd referenced to the Assembly Appropriations committee.   The Assembly legislation, however, extends the suspension until the end of 2014.  It is uncertain that if these bills proceed which expiration date will advance.

Questions and comments can be directed to Mike Cerra at either mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x120.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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